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Should Christians Attend a Same-Sex Wedding?

Everybody asks me about whether they should attend a same-sex wedding. This is just one of the most overwhelmingly common questions I get asked these days. And you need to know that most of the time when I am asked the question, it is not as a disconnected and academic question. Let me ask you something, Pastor, what do you think? What do you think as a matter of policy about whether a Christian should go to a same-sex wedding? It’s not asked and that sort of disconnected, dispassionate way. It’s asked in a really personal and painful way. What do you think, my niece is getting married to another woman and they want me to go, should I? Or my son is getting married to another man, and he wants me to come. What do you think? These are personal and painful questions about whether we should attend weddings like this. What I want to do is answer the question in two parts.

What is the Right Thing to Do?

The first part is, what is the right thing to do? Should I attend a same-sex wedding? Let me first give you the ethics of it here. I think the very simple, straightforward answer to that question that is representative of Christian and biblical faithfulness is no. No, you should not attend a same-sex wedding. The reason for that answer is predicated on the answer to two other questions. The first of those two other questions is, what is a wedding? We know what a wedding is from the Bible in Genesis 2:24. It says, “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” That is the first wedding in history. It’s the first marriage in history. God presides as the minister over this wedding, and it is one man and one woman for one life. That is what marriage is. Anything else is not marriage. A union of two men is not marriage. A union of two women is not marriage. So if we’re asking the question, what is a marriage, and it is one man and one woman, and anything else is not a marriage, then to call anything else a marriage is a lie. Christians may not participate in a lie. When you talk about two men getting married or two women getting married, you’re talking about something that isn’t real; you’re talking about something that isn’t a thing, it doesn’t exist, and Christians may not countenance a lie.

Second question, so can I kind of go to a same-sex wedding? The answer’s no. And the reason it’s no is because the answer to the first question, what is a wedding? Well, the weddings one man, one woman, here’s the second question. What does my attendance at a marriage communicate? Your attendance at a marriage communicates endorsement, and it communicates celebration. Celebration is the key piece here. When I go to a wedding ceremony, I am communicating joy and celebration. I’m communicating enthusiasm that this is happening. The same thing is true in the opposite way about a funeral. What does your presence at a funeral indicate? It indicates grief; it indicates mourning and sorrow. If you show up at a funeral to celebrate the death of the deceased, your attendance is entirely out of place. It’s the same thing with a wedding. If I show up at a wedding ceremony that is meant to be celebratory, and I show up, there mourning over this lie in this sin that is taking place. My attendance and my presence are totally out of place. Because a marriage is a union between one man and one woman, and because attendance at a wedding ceremony is a celebration over that Christians may not go to a wedding ceremony that is not a marriage. Christians may not go to a wedding to mourn to lament that this is happening. Loved ones wouldn’t even really want us there if they knew that that is what we were after. I really don’t think that Christians have the freedom to attend a wedding ceremony.

Now this gets to the second piece. The second piece goes back to what I said at the very beginning that when this question is asked, it is asked from the standpoint of pain and relational brokenness, and sorrow, and people feel overwhelmed by it. Here’s what I want to say, I don’t think Christians should attend same-sex wedding ceremonies. But I understand when moms and dads go to the same-sex wedding ceremony of their son, I understand when moms and dads go to the same-sex wedding ceremony of their daughter, I get it. I do not think it is ideal. I do not think it is right. But I understand when Christians with a broken heart want to try to do something to communicate love and care. And so even though they’ve said, I don’t think this is right, even though they’ve endured conflict with their loved one, they still, as some means of extending an olive branch, they still go. I don’t think that is ideal. I don’t think it is best. But I’m not going to lay moral blame on somebody who makes that decision. I think their Christian testimony is clearer and more consistent if they don’t go. But I understand the broken heart and the personal desire to try to preserve the relationship. And so I would say the sin here is not primarily with the loved one who chooses to go under duress but is located in a different place. I don’t think Christians should attend a same-sex wedding ceremony, but in a broken world where somebody with a broken heart is trying to extend love to a sinner who they know needs Jesus, and they no one wants to hear and receive their love. I’m not going to lay moral blame at the feet of that person.